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How & What to Feed a Pregnant Dog

Once you have established that your dog is pregnant, it is of paramount importance – both to the bitch and unborn pups – that you implement a special care regime. Providing this special care is actually relatively straightforward, and primarily concerns how you handle your bitch, as well as implementing a feeding plan. Our experts walk you through how and what to feed a pregnant dog in this article.

Author: ProDog Raw

How & What to Feed a Pregnant Dog

Planning before conception

Even before a female dog conceives, owners are able to increase the likelihood of this occurring through carefully controlling and regulating her diet. A healthy dog is a more fertile dog, and weight increase correlates with higher rates of hormone production.

Certain supplements containing high levels of zinc and various vitamins can also support fertility rates, but we always recommend seeking veterinary advice before you start adding supplements in. Meat is a superb natural source of zinc!

 

What to feed a pregnant dog

The first step to establishing a feeding plan for a pregnant dog is to ensure that as a foundation, your dog has a healthy and nutritious regular diet.

At ProDog Raw, we very much believe that a species-appropriate natural raw dog food diet is the best food for a pregnant dog, to ensure that these needs are properly fulfilled. As a dog’s dietary tract has evolved relatively little since it was domesticated from wild wolves, it is best to attempt to mimic what their natural diet would have been.

For the most part, this is raw meat (lean muscle), offal, small amounts of fur and bone, and fruit and vegetables which may have been foraged. Carbohydrates are acceptable, but not in any large quantity has dogs and wolves evolved to primarily gain energy from protein and fat sources. Ideally, this should be as unprocessed as possible, as dogs did not evolve to effectively digest and gain goodness and nutritional value from low grade, intensively processed and refined cooked foods such as kibble.

Increase the relevant proteins

In addition to ensuring that her food is of the highest quality possible, another very useful generic principle for feeding pregnant dogs is ensuring that she is able to eat higher quantities of protein than normal.

Pregnancy involves generating and growing new life, so increased amounts of biologically appropriate protein are important in guaranteeing functions such as normal growth and repair, development of foetal tissue, and growth of breast and uterine tissue. Additional protein will also help increase blood supply to the womb, which is integral to normal and healthy puppy development.

Lean muscle supports growth and repair, while cartilage supports strong joints. Offal (i.e. liver, tripe, hearts, lungs, and kidneys etc.), is also known to support its body part that it originates from. While it is generally desirable to feed your dog a good source of bone for calcium levels, this should ideally be reduced to the point of elimination during a dog’s pregnancy.

As pregnant bitches can be more prone to constipation during the later stages of pregnancy, it is obviously sensible to reduce the risk of a pregnant dog suffering any kind of digestive issues. At ProDog Raw we promote introducing our bone-free meal option when necessary.

Feed your pregnant dog the best

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How much to feed a pregnant dog

Owners should also plan how much to feed their pregnant dog’s diet in certain phases, but this is not an overly complicated process.

  1. At the fifth week of pregnancy, one should increase the food they make available to the dog by 20-30%.
  2. By the sixth week, her stomach will have shrunk to accommodate her growing puppies, so owners should decrease serving sizes, but provide her with numerous smaller meals throughout the day.

The amount of bone in her diet should be decreased, while the amount of fat should be increased. Total amounts of feed should be increased by 50% on a gradual basis up to the eighth week of the pregnancy.

An excellent indicator of a bitch imminently preparing to give birth is her stopping eating at approximately nine weeks into her pregnancy.

If you observe this, do not attempt to force her to eat. She will do so when she is ready. In the days leading up to this, though, owners should gradually decrease the amounts of food she is eating while increasing protein and offal quantities.

What should pregnant dogs avoid?

It is very important during a dog’s pregnancy to refrain from feeding low quality and nutrient-void high-starch or pulse dense intensively processed foods. Even at the best of times, these are unhealthy for all dogs and have been strongly linked to many health conditions.

At such a crucial time, one of the easiest ways to ensure optimum health for your pregnant bitch and her puppies is by offering it a nutritionally rich raw diet. Quality protein fed in the right quantities should be a priority for pregnant dogs. As such, it is worth slightly reducing the amounts of vegetables they eat, but not completely eliminating them.

Towards the end of a pregnancy, bitches should not be exposed to excessive amounts of Vitamin A or calcium, as these can be harmful to her unborn puppies.

What to feed after birth

Immediately after giving birth, it also perfectly natural and common for a bitch to eat her afterbirth, which should not be discouraged. As she will be lactating and nursing her puppies which is in and of itself another hard job, owners should not become complacent about providing their bitch with a proper diet after she has given birth.

Your nursing bitch should always be offered access to good amounts of water, and a nutrient-dense high-protein diet. As all of ProDog Raw’s products are packed full of protein and nutritional value, we are uniquely placed to support your bitch during this, and the earlier stages of her pregnancy.

Creating a feeding plan for your dog before, during, and after her pregnancy, if you are planning on breeding her, need not be stressful or complicated. ProDog Raw has significant experience in providing pregnant dogs with optimal feeding plans and offers a broad range of appropriate raw products including main meal items, supplements, and treats. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us, and we would be more than happy to help in any way we can.

Raw is the best food for pregnant dogs

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2 comments

Karyn Darby

Good morning…we’re looking for a meal plan for our pregnant bitch and or any supplements she might need. Could you give me some help or advice?

ProDog

hi Karyn, I believe our nutritional advisor has been in touch and advised.

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